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Tuesday, February 12, 2013

AFJ calls for swift filling of vacancies on nation's second most important court

The creation of yet another vacancy – the fourth – on what is widely-known as the nation’s second most important court is a stark reminder of the urgent need to fill vacancies on that court.

Judge David Sentelle
With Judge David Sentelle taking senior status today, the D.C. Circuit now has more vacancies than any other circuit court of appeals.  One of these seats has been vacant for more than seven years, another for more than four years.  But the Senate has yet to confirm President Obama’s two nominees.

In contrast, President George W. Bush named four judges to the D.C. Circuit, President Bill Clinton named three, President George H.W. Bush also named three and President Ronald Reagan named eight. 

“Only the U.S. Supreme Court itself has more of an impact on the lives of everyday Americans than the D.C. Circuit,” said AFJ President Nan Aron. 

Because this court is so important it has become a farm team for future Supreme Court justices. Four of the nine current justices - Roberts, Ginsburg, Scalia and Thomas – served on the D.C. Circuit.

“Most D.C. Circuit cases will never be reviewed by the Supreme Court,” Aron said.  “The D.C. Circuit often stands as the final arbiter of President Obama’s legislative legacy and decades of policy achievements long supported by  the American people.  We call upon the Senate to quickly confirm the pending nominees for this court, and we urge President Obama to nominate strong judges who understand the role of government in protecting everyday Americans.”

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